Chambers Fine Art Beijing announces the opening on May 23, 2009 of Yi BiTe: Recent Paintings by Feng Mengbo. For his first exhibition at Chambers Fine Art Beijing, Feng Mengbo continues his investigation of classical Chinese culture that began with Wrong Code: Sanshui without abandoning his deep immersion in every aspect of the cyberworld. More than any other artist in China today, Feng Mengbo has been associated with the world of computers, video-games and youth culture. Exploring the darker aspects of this technology, he moved rapidly from CD-ROMs to actual games in which spectator participation became increasingly important.
Beginning in 2005 Feng Mengbo returned to painting, not as a rejection of the technological orientation of his earlier work but as a supplement to it. After the Built to Order and Wrong Code: Sanshui series of paintings, Feng Mengbo has turned to fundamental texts such as the Jieziyuan Huazhuan (Manual of the Mustard Seed Garden) and other calligraphy and landscape copybooks as the source of this new body of work. At first glance the silver-leaf panels covered in silk screened patterns of black squares appear to be elegant abstractions, an unexpected development for an artist of Feng Mengbo’s transgressive persuasion. As soon as the source of these apparently random arrangements is revealed, however, their relationship with the rest of his oeuvre is apparent.
As Andrew Solomon has remarked: “ The current exhibition encompasses classical works of brush painting and calligraphy reduced to one-bit form – the smallest amount of information possible for a computer age, the most primitive possible code – and silkscreened onto silver-leaf panels. …Literati artists worked in an extremely reduced vocabulary, and their genius lay in being able to express all of existence in a few brushstrokes. Feng Mengbo automates the process, and reduces expression to far more austere essentials. It is surprising that even in these deliberately impoverished images. Much of the beauty of the hand survives; Feng Mengbo preserves both style and meaning. In his view, the artists whose work he copies were brave and radical innovators, and he posits that if they were living now, they would be obsessed with technology. The brush on rice paper is a code, just as digital technology is.”
Although unexpected, this recent development in Feng Mengbo’s art is a tribute to his inquiring mind. Having been submerged in a world of fantasy and popular culture as represented by video games since the beginning of his career, Feng Mengbo has turned to the past and found that it has more in common with the unruly present than might have been expected.
自2005年起，冯梦波回到绘画这一媒体。这一选择不是对以技术为根基的早期作品的否定，而是对它们的有力补充。继《 Built to Order 》和《译码：山水》之后，冯梦波将注意力转向《芥子园画传》和其他法帖。第一眼看上去，这些被印上丝网的银箔好像优美的黑色抽象画，和这位艺术家以往的创作相距甚远。一旦发现这些无序排列的根源后，这组新作品与冯梦波其他创作间的关系就变得一目了然。
正如著名作家和评论家 Andrew Solomon 所说：“这次展览将涉及大量的传统书画，但却将其减缩到现代电脑世界中最小，最原始的代码——一比特的形式，并将它们以丝网技术印制在银箔上 …… 中国文人运用最精简的艺术语言进行创作，而他们的才情的伟大性，也正是用极简的笔墨表现丰富情感的能力。冯梦波将这个过程自动化，并将情感表现缩减成更加质朴的基本元素。非常让人惊讶的是，甚至在这些刻意贫乏化的图像中，“手”的美丽却依然存在。冯梦波同时保持维护了风格和意义。在他看来，他所模仿的艺术家是勇敢和创新的开拓者，如果活在今天，他们必定会对技术着迷。宣纸上的笔触是一种代码，正如同数码技术一样。”